FIFA President Gianni Infantino has said that players from red-list countries should not be deprived of the chance of playing in the coming World Cup qualifiers.
He made this known on the backdrop of reports that 20 clubs from the top-flight of English football had on Tuesday agreed not to release their players from featuring in international matches in red-list countries next month.
Nearly 60 players from 19 Premier League clubs are due to travel to 26 red-list countries in September for international matches.
Reacting to the development, Infantino said: “We have faced global problems together in the past and must continue to do so in the future.
“The release of players in the upcoming international windows is a matter of great urgency and importance. I am grateful for the support and cooperation from many stakeholders in the game during this challenging period.
“I am calling on a show of solidarity from every member association, every league, and every club, to do what is both right and fair for the global game.
“Many of the best players in the world compete in leagues in England and Spain, and we believe these countries also share the responsibility to preserve and protect the sporting integrity of competitions around the world.
“On the issue of quarantine restrictions in England, for players returning from red-list countries, I have written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and appealed for the necessary support, in particular, so players are not deprived of the opportunity of representing their countries in qualifying matches for the FIFA World Cup, which is one of the ultimate honours for a professional footballer.
“I have suggested that an approach similar to that adopted by the UK government for the final stages of the EURO 2020 be implemented for the upcoming international matches.
“Together we have shown solidarity and unity in the fight against COVID-19. Now, I am urging everyone to ensure the release of international players for the upcoming FIFA World Cup qualifiers.”